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10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Majestic Princess is the newest Princess ship built for China, but after less than a full season business seems not as good as expected, and it moves to Taiwan for a while, then after returning to China for some charters it is rumoured ... Read More
Majestic Princess is the newest Princess ship built for China, but after less than a full season business seems not as good as expected, and it moves to Taiwan for a while, then after returning to China for some charters it is rumoured that the ship will leave Asia via an Australian season. This ship, my 8th Princess ship, is the best Princess ship I have so far cruised on. The shops are upgraded to cater for Chinese luxury spenders and well decorated and arranged, much better than streetwise shopping on sister ship Regal Princess. There is a larger choice of restaurants too decided to make you pay. But it is good that the ship retains much of an atmosphere of international cruising, despite Chinese signage, and for this trip menus are given in Chinese (with a lot of wrong translation) as the majority if not all passengers are Chinese. The majority of crew are however international, many not Chinese speaking, yet it manages well. There are more small tables to cater for couples, and small table is available in restaurants even for breakfast and lunch. Menu retains the Western standards but with Chinese items added. There are 3 restaurants offering sufficient facility but the buffet area is definitely too small, and you virtually can't find a seat at peak time. The best paid restaurant is the Princess standard Crown Grill. The Chinese food is no good, not Michelin star food but home dishes. I had a restricted balcony, the cheapest balcony grade but it doesn't bother me as I never go out to use the balcony in such hot weather. If you do, then the balcony is so narrow as to be of no use. What is good is that a water kettle is provided, with tea bags. You won't find this on other Princess ships, but I believe this service will be out if not cruising in China. Princess had hailed the new production shows as spectacular but theatre facility failed to take in all passengers, so many were turned away. But no harm, as the show was simply what other cruise lines better in entertainment had been doing for years. It still fails to compare with Dream Cruises, Star Cruises, NCL, MSC, and RCI. There are other local shows. The magician was a disaster but the Taiwan violinist Venus Tsai is very good, pleasing in looks and she played a high powered violin and hosted a good show. I later learned that she is popular in this area and appears with RCI, NCL and Holland America as well. I am happy with the ship but regret that it may have to leave my region. The blame may be due to the Princess management in Shanghai who failed to give it due promotion and good operation (for example menus are wrongly translated). It is sad if the ship has to leave this market, while RCI even with bigger ships and more capacity can manage to stay on in China/Asia. The cruise is 6 nights than the standard 7 and Princess is probably the most flexible operator capable of rescheduling the ship quickly, while Norwegian Joy continues to struggle. We called at Kagoshima, probably chosen only because of the easy location, then Hiroshima which is very interesting though the ship berths far away, then finally a small Japanese town of no touristic interest. Embarkation was good for me as a Platinum member for priority, and as I took my luggage by myself I can freely disembark almost as soon as we berthed. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This was my first cruise with Princess and as a result of my experience, it will definitely be my last. Prior to booking, I had this impression that Princess was an elite cruising brand. I expected more of them than I would a Carnival, ... Read More
This was my first cruise with Princess and as a result of my experience, it will definitely be my last. Prior to booking, I had this impression that Princess was an elite cruising brand. I expected more of them than I would a Carnival, Norwegian or Royal Caribbean cruise line. I could not have been more wrong. Let's start with the PROS since its a short list. PROS: Embarkation - Princess is very organized. I was on the ship in less than 20 minutes from my arrival to the pier. I have NEVER gotten on a ship that fast before. There was no haggling to buy onboard packages and no pressure to take pictures. It was the most quickest, easiest embarkation I have ever experienced. Shore Excursions - I really liked that while the Excursions desk was not always manned that they had iPads at the desk so I could book excursions during their non-operating hours. I struggled whether to add this to the CONS list really, because the Excursions desk was closed before and during our sail away period, but I do like that I had this as an option. I like to book my excursions as soon as I get on the ship. I later learned I could have booked them in my room via the TV. Entertainment - I really enjoyed some of the musical talent on this ship. I learned of some new artistic gems like George Thursting that I now follow through social media. Love them. Folks, that's where my PROS list ends. Let's dive into everything that made this cruise horrible and left me vowing to NEVER cruise with Princess again. CONS: Bed Bug (in Room B249) - I usually don't sleep much, if at all, the night before a cruise, because I am busy packing and getting my house (and life) prepared for my extensive departure, so I usually make up for that sleep the first night on the ship. This cruise was no exception. I grabbed a bite to eat and booked my excursions once I got on board and I headed straight to my room to snooze. After we set sailed, I got up to grab something out of my bag and when I returned to the bed I noticed what looked like a bed bug crawling over the duvet cover. I screamed! I ran outside where the cabin steward was. He came in looking embarrassed, but not surprised, and scooped the bug into a glass jar. I was mortified. All I could think was how grateful I was that I had not unpacked yet. I did NOT want to take any of these critters home with me. I hear bed bugs are horrible to get rid of. I went straight to the reception desk to report it. Its the first night, so there's a long line. I patiently wait. When I get to the line, the service desk rep (Ignacio and Aracelli) said there was not much they could do besides send someone to investigate and clean the room since the ship was sold out. They did not offer me some place to sit or rest at during this 2-hour investigation. They did not offer me a complimentary beverage or meal. They did not apologize for the inconvenience. They did nothing, but "investigate." I stood on the side of the reception desk for 2 hours exhausted. I finally got back in line to see if there was an update, since NO ONE spoke to me during those 2 hours and only after I got back in line did someone call to check on the "investigation" and that's when I was told they were done and they did not find anything else (meaning another bug). For all I know, the investigation could have been completed an hour earlier. I return to my room alone. Visibly shaken, they did not offer to escort me to my room to reassure me and show me their findings. No one was there when I arrived. It was hours later when the cabin steward supervisor and my cabin steward returned to tell me the supervisor found nothing. I asked if I would be able to get checked by medical - something the front desk rep said I would be able to get as a courtesy to check for bed bug bites - and the supervisor told me NO. He said the ship doctor is not like a doctor on land, they're expensive, so I would have to pay for this myself. Um... OK! I was done after this. Done. He treated me like I was an inconvenience. Very hostile. I never unpacked my bag. I kept it closed the entire cruise and I checked my room for bed bugs each and every day. I tried not to let this ruin my trip cuz then I would definitely be on the losing end. I tried to make the best of it. Ship - Its old. Real old. Very dated. There's rust, mildew and mold everywhere. While I stood in line at the guest desk, I noticed there were multiple leaks from the ceiling. Also, the layout makes no sense. They give each deck a name. For example: Deck # 11 is named Baja and Deck # 15 is named Lido. Instead of referring to the deck number, you had to learn the deck names, because that is how they were referenced. It was so cooky. Then there were only so many elevator banks. I believe there were three or four for the entire ship and one or two of those only went to a few floors. There were no machines for people to add money to their room card/key. Everything went through the very incompetent guest desk. And they had to escalate everything. No one at the desk could make a decision at their level. No one was empowered to just do common sense things for guests. While I waited for my bed bug investigation, I heard a man with Platinum Level Status get upset over his beverage package and how someone screwed it up. I stood there thinking: If this guy is a loyal Princess cruiser and they treat him like that, how should I expect them to treat me? Not good, folks. Not good. Dining - I actually like the seating in the buffet dining areas. I liked that there were pub seating that looked directly out the window, so if you're a party of one you're only taking one seat and not an entire table. That's where my likes end. The food options were very limited and buffet small. It was about one-third of the size of the buffet area on the average Norwegian ship. Horrible! I made due, but I was just shocked. In Conclusion: The pros definitely did not outweigh the cons. I cannot justify the cost of the average Princess cruise for me to try the brand again. Outside of wanting to experience the Princess brand, I really chose this sailing because it was going to the ABC islands and it was full of smart at sea days. Heed my warnings. If nothing else, stay away from this ship unless you've cruised it before and know what to expect. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
I chose this cruise because the dates fit with my annual leave & also for the ports if call. The staff were very helpful & friendly however the standard of the food was a little lower than my last voyage. The activities on board ... Read More
I chose this cruise because the dates fit with my annual leave & also for the ports if call. The staff were very helpful & friendly however the standard of the food was a little lower than my last voyage. The activities on board including Trivia and carpet bowls were lively & fun however the entertainment was a little one dimensional with only 2 people doing the singing in a lot of the productions. I also felt that this cruise was treated as filling in time before the World Cruise with both pools being closed for 3 days for maintenance & a major renovation being done on the Atrium fountain during the day with a grinder being used along with very smelly sealant. I thoroughly enjoyed the Ports we visited and we eere blessed with great weather. There was the usual bickering over the laundry facilities, but that comes down to the people, not Princess. Shore excursions are expensive & unfortunately 3 of mine were cancelled, one of which I received no notification. The people maje the cruise & I met some wondrrful ones. Great trip overall Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
I chose this cruise for the ports visited and the slightly longer length than my usual week. As a solo traveller who will not cruise without the luxury of a balcony it is an expensive holiday due to the 100% surcharge for single ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the ports visited and the slightly longer length than my usual week. As a solo traveller who will not cruise without the luxury of a balcony it is an expensive holiday due to the 100% surcharge for single occupancy. However , that is my choice. I loved the fact that this cruise departed on a Tuesday - no crowds at the port for embarkation and this aso made a difference to the number of ships in port when we were there. My balcony cabin B226 was TINY , as was the bathroom. How two people can live in that size of cabin for up to 20 days amazes me. The balcony was an average size, the same as other (Norwegian) ships , just enough room for two chairs and a small table. Don't even think about having a romantic room service dinner for two - you will be eating it on your lap ! The bedding was a pale shade of grey and I can't be sure, but I think the sheets were not changed once in 10 days ! Room cleaning was below standard, sand remained on carpet for days and glasses used the previous night were not once replaced or washed out .Balcony floor not cleaned for the whole duration of the cruise. My initial impression of the ship was favourable . The public areas are plush and elegant. Pools on deck 16 are adequate. Movies under the stars a great idea, but you need to get a bed early or you won't get one at all ! I LOVED the Retreat pool on deck 17. Usually a bit more windy than deck 16 but soo worth it. The pool was a comfortable temperature and there are 2 jacuzzi tubs and exclusive Cabanas which can be rented for a fee. Peace and tranquility reigned here , No kids screaming and jumping in the pool. No loud pumping music. I did not use the Sanctuary. Fee applies. Now to my biggest disappointment - the food. I gave up on the Horizons buffet for breakfast after 2 days. confusing layout, lacklustre choice of breakfast items and no stations where you could have your eggs cooked to your liking. Eggs looked like they were powdered eggs and were swimming in liquid. Everything , but everything I ate in there was luke warm , if not cold. This was the same whether it was breakfast , lunch or dinner. Had breakfast in the Symphony dining room once , thinking I would at least get hot food freshly prepared. I was so wrong. Ordered poached eggs on toast and they arrived COLD.. Very unhappy but couldn't be bothered sending them back. Luckilly , I then discovered the International Cafe on Deck 5. A lovely little Patisserie type cafe with fresh, delicious, croissants and pastries and muesli and of couse speciality coffees. At lunch they serve delicious appetiising salads , quiches, and sandwiches, which are beautifully presented and all tasted excellent. The only thing I found I didn't like about this place was that you are served your choice of salad on a tiny sideplate, so if you wanted to have a meal of salads, you would need more than one plate ,like a Tapas bar, which I think discourages people from using the cafe as anything but a place for a quick snack. Shame. Best food on the entire ship ! Entertainment : I didn't get to see any shows. ( due to a 5 hour time change, I was usually flagging by 8.30 pm !) but there was always something going on in the public areas on deck 5, a good place for people watching. Shore excursions: I didn't use any of these, mostly because they were extremely expensive and I had researched beforehand which beaches I wanted to visit. The ports were all crowded . some vendors selling quite aggresively, but just stick your head down and say NO ! I would advise to ALWAYS check beforehand how much you should pay for a shared taxi to wherever you wish to go, otherwise you are leaving yourself open to being ripped off. Having said that , as a single woman , I never felt threatened, or uncomfortable. Favourite beaches were Antigua - Valley Church Beach and Barbados - Rockley Beach. So, the bottom line .... Comparing Princess to 2 Norwegian cruises, which would I choose ? Well the jury is still out on that one. Maybe try RCL or Celebrity next time ! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
I have never been to the ABC islands before so this itinerary appealed to me. The Crown was heading to dry dock after my cruise and it's apparent that it is needed! Everything seemed dated. The Horizon Court food was lack luster and ... Read More
I have never been to the ABC islands before so this itinerary appealed to me. The Crown was heading to dry dock after my cruise and it's apparent that it is needed! Everything seemed dated. The Horizon Court food was lack luster and in need of revamping the selections. The burger I had at the Trident was bland, no taste, processed flat patty, and they didn't even melt the cheese on it, just threw it on at the end. The upset stuff really gets old very quickly onboard, pushing the jewelry and art constantly. I didn't find the shows too spectacular, they were alright. The bright spot was the comedian, he was funny. The MDR was great as always, fine wait stall. I prefer the seated dining. I drove to the port and parked there also. So there was no hotel review or much in the way of traveling. Embarkation was very quick and efficient and disembarkation was ahead of schedule which is rare, so that was very quick. I did a Princess tour on each island and with the exception of being left behind at one spot (Aruba), had no other problems. Seems they didn't do head counts!! But that is why I stick to the cruise tours, in case something goes wrong. I had a bacony on Baja, which I liked for the covered balcony and no one looking down on me! I traveled solo, so no children or significant other to report on! Now that I've seen these islands, I have no need to travel there again, none I would go back to. As I said, the cabin and the public areas need upgrades, which is now being done. I did make use of the spa and as usual everyone there was very accommodating. Princess is my cruiseline of choice so once refurbished, I will no doubt go on the Crown again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
Princess does it right, very enjoyable cruise didn't feel out of place and actually meet other people that were in a similar situation of losing a spouse. I was apprehensive at first but I didn't feel out of place at all. Ship ... Read More
Princess does it right, very enjoyable cruise didn't feel out of place and actually meet other people that were in a similar situation of losing a spouse. I was apprehensive at first but I didn't feel out of place at all. Ship crew was the most polite and friendly I have ever experienced in 32 cruises, embarkation was smooth disembarkation was very smooth, I had an interior sideways cabin only negative was that it was small for a bigger guy, negative comment and though the horizon food court was confusing at best organizationally, channel select for news channels poor no ABC or CBS but the in room movies were very good and very current,entertainment was excellent, activities were great the sail away party was awesome and the horn on the ship actually was the love boat song which is what got me started on cruising in the fist place. Solo cruiser's go Relax, Recharge and come back new. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We chose this cruise as several s places I had not been to. We enjoyed KL, and Pennang, and the shopping was good. I had been to Bali 18 times so knew my way around no problem, like my second home. Phuket I did not like as stinking ... Read More
We chose this cruise as several s places I had not been to. We enjoyed KL, and Pennang, and the shopping was good. I had been to Bali 18 times so knew my way around no problem, like my second home. Phuket I did not like as stinking hot, humid and dirty. No taxis were at the port as was advised. Only private drivers wanting a day fare, when we only wanted a quick look around,ended up with a non licensed car, trip into Robinsons departments store. Air con great and so was lunch cheap and tasty. Got a taxi back to the ship easily. Thailand the most disappointing part of the trip, and never again. The ship is tired, but very clean and the service was great. The main anytime dining options, 4 different however with same menu was ok. The buffet was great, so much selection and deserts to die for. I have never used the buffet ever before for evening meals on any other cruise, however it was superb. The entertainment was lacking as we were looking forward to the broadway shows, of which 2-3 only, the rest other entertainers. Overall a great cruise, and would recommend. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2018
With hurricane Irma preventing some activities to happen in this particular itinerary, I got a balcony cabin for the price I usually pay for an interior. The only thing I wanted was sun and warmth, and I got them, so I am pleased with that ... Read More
With hurricane Irma preventing some activities to happen in this particular itinerary, I got a balcony cabin for the price I usually pay for an interior. The only thing I wanted was sun and warmth, and I got them, so I am pleased with that cruise. I chose Princess mainly because of my loyalty status (Platinum soon-to-be-Elite) and I appreciate the quality of food and the menu of the MDR (compared to NCL I cruised 3 times). Overall everything went smoothly, with good entertainment (but not as good as NCL or RC Oasis of the Seas I went on once), many pools with different settings (my favorite was the Retreat, but also liked the classic movies like Grease showed in am by the main pool). Fast service at bars, ordered room service once and was fast too, personel friendly but not intrusive. Great fitness room, a must with all you eat and drink on a cruise ;-) . However, it seems to me that Princess is cutting on the MDR personnel. Waiting Time is getting longer to receive food; often at a solo table, I sometimes had difficulty to grab waiters’ attention, they seem to be too busy sorting dirty plates than serving passengers, which I never felt in previous cruises. Also, although my cabin was clean overall, the steward rounded the corners; the thick layer of dust on the edge of my desk showed that it had not been dusted in many weeks. Also broken chocolate found under the bed showed a lack in vacuum cleaning. Princess officers should better supervise their stewards. Once gain, that never occured to me before, so it can be a problem of this particular steward. On Princess Cays, instead of offering frequent small tender boats, they chose to use big boats; making the trip from waiting on the island to security on the ship as long as 1 hour. Debarkation was as smooth as embarkation. Plenty of taxicabs at terminal; for a few $ more than a Princess transfer to the airport, much faster service. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
This review covers the 5-day and 8-day back-to-back voyages of the Crown Princess (January 7-20). We were able to book these dates for a last-minute booking (38 days out). Princess offered us a price we couldn't refuse, so off we ... Read More
This review covers the 5-day and 8-day back-to-back voyages of the Crown Princess (January 7-20). We were able to book these dates for a last-minute booking (38 days out). Princess offered us a price we couldn't refuse, so off we go. This was our 13th & 14th cruise respectively with Princess (20+ overall) so we know our way around the cruise world. Embarkation was as smooth as possible. We waited until the mass early morn crowd dissipates, and walked in about 1:30pm. Being platinum level, we were whisked through the preferred line and were onboard the ship within ten minutes. We chose an obstructed oceanview stateroom, since we would be outside 90% of the time aboard. Our room steward was excellent.....very personable, and took great care of us. The Crown Princess is a magnificent ship, slightly over 3000 passengers, well laid-out with lots of open space on top (4 pools), good traffic flow through most of the ship. Almost all activities occur on the 7th deck, which gives you access to all the lounges, theatre, and some shops. Gym and spa are at the front of the ship, which gives you 180-degree view forward behind glass walls. The buffet (Horizon Court) is at the back of the ship on deck 15, and has inside/outside tables available for great views. DINING: We stick with the late traditional dining venue (Botticelli room, deck 6 table for 2). Our wait staff was excellent, very friendly, knowledgeable of the food selections, and made our dining experience memorable. The food in this room was FANTASTIC.....in our opinion, one of the top 2 of our Princess experiences over the years. Portions were the perfect size, we ate everything that was on our plates. Desserts were well-presented. ENTERTAINMENT: Theater stage shows were great. You must watch ENCORE. Some serious talent there. The ship band was spot-on. Great costuming/lighting. Theater has good access/egress. Catch the party band STATIC.....high energy, very interactive with the passengers when they perform. Voice of the ocean was entertaining, as was marriage match game. PORTS: Visited Roatan, Cozemel, Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire. Beach days in Roatan and Aruba. Cozemel was a visit to Tuluum, which requires a ferry ride over to the mainland (Playa Del Carmen). Curacao was a walk-around visit, and we rode electric bicycles on a 25-mile tour of the island of Bonaire. We used off-ship venders (shoreexcursiongroup.com) for the land tours. Traveled about 5000 statute miles on this adventure. Point-of-information....you can now bring Cuban cigars back to the U.S. for personal consumption. We used city bus in Aruba (drastically cheaper than Taxi). OVERALL: There were no speedbumps on this cruise with Princess. We were treated like royalty. Crown is scheduled for dry-dock in a month or so, so the experience should get even better after that. This ship/schedule met our needs. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
I have done over 60 cruises -on most cruise lines. This one really impressed me. Design of ship is genius. No line-ups anywhere - except Crooners' Bar at happy hour. Just hope they do NOT do Princess Cays during winter months. Weather ... Read More
I have done over 60 cruises -on most cruise lines. This one really impressed me. Design of ship is genius. No line-ups anywhere - except Crooners' Bar at happy hour. Just hope they do NOT do Princess Cays during winter months. Weather & water temps. quite cool. Price very reasonable. Movies & concerts on big outdoor screen excellent.Lots to do - on & off the ship." Your Time Dining" could use some improvement at reception. Embarkation & debarkation went very quickly. Lots of Customs people to speed things along. There were well over 200 hundred people doing the back to back (2 week cruise). That says something. Just wish they had a Mimosa or glass of champagne for us when we got back on board. The bartenders need retraining however - or just staffed better. If I have to pay automatic 15% gratuity on all drinks, I should not be greeted by surly, abrupt bartenders that make you feel like a house fly that just flew in & landed on "THEIR" counter. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
I have sailed aboard the Princess before and found it to be a really relaxing experience. The atmosphere is friendly. The crew is very helpful in many ways such as greeting you by name when going to dinner or nearing your cabin. The gym is ... Read More
I have sailed aboard the Princess before and found it to be a really relaxing experience. The atmosphere is friendly. The crew is very helpful in many ways such as greeting you by name when going to dinner or nearing your cabin. The gym is not crowded and getting a workout can be done in a short time. The view from the gym is up high and forward so you can see the sea life during your time in there. My nine dining partners were a mixed set of people. Most of them had cruised before and were very knowledgeable. For the most part they were friendly and cheerful (with a couple of spats). The British pub was a chance to eat some foods from fish and chips to a ploughmans lunch drink a proper Guiness. I enjoyed singing in the Pop choir. The Princess singers and dancers were very good but put on not nearly enough shows. The other performers were not to my taste. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
My experience with princess was one of the worst travel experiences i have ever had. It was my first experience with princess, and i will never patronize them again, and i will vociferously encourage others to avoid princess at all ... Read More
My experience with princess was one of the worst travel experiences i have ever had. It was my first experience with princess, and i will never patronize them again, and i will vociferously encourage others to avoid princess at all costs. I will be publishing this report to every relevant travel portal. Starting with the Ports visited: The ports were not bad choices, however port days were far too short except for curação. there wasn't enough time in each port to have a chance to walk around and have a chance to get to know the place. Excursions offered by princess were extremely limited and obscenely overpriced. i did not purchase any of princess' excursions. Trinidad was a hazard. i attempted to walk out into trinidad, as i had done with every other port, just to spend some time getting to know a little of the place. shortly into my walk i was stopped by a secret service police officer, who showed me her badge, and begged me to please turn around and go back to the ship and not continue walking, as i was walking into a death trap. i learned that a day or two prior to our arrival in trinidad, someone had been shot to death in the street of the city proper - near the port where we docked. Essentially, by running on only one engine and stopping in a port that was already known to be highly dangerous, princess was putting everyone at extreme risk. no warnings were announced at any time regarding these conditions in trinidad. It rained at every port, yet princess refused to provide umbrellas. The ship: We were running on only one engine for the entire journey. this caused the ship to suffer imbalance in the water. This fact was not shared with passengers. this was a fact that should have been shared with passengers as it is a hazard to run the ship on only one engine. princess is legally required to run ships and any equipment under the most stringent requirements of safety. running a 14 day journey on only one engine in international waters was extreme negligence on the part of the princess cruise company. We experienced extreme turbulence on the ship throughout journey, to the point that a man was thrown down and hit his head against a wall because of the rocking of the boat. Crew moved him into a seated position, which i understand was just an effort to try to help, but i have always been taught that in an emergency situation, never ever move an injured person before emts arrive to assess the injuries and proceed to treat the person. he had to be airlifted out by helicopter because of the injury. I am a pretty surefooted person and have very good balance as i am a dancer, and i was thrown so violently by the turbulence that i often tripped. In one such situation, i hit a banister hard enough with my hip to bruise it. Regarding running on one engine, if that one engine had failed, we would have been stranded at sea for an unspecified period of time before being located and towed to the nearest landing port. in addition to that unacceptable risk, with no engine power, the ballast pumps would have stopped working, and without that constant balancing of weight, the ship would list to one side, eventually capsizing. The staff: I experienced rudeness and disrespect most of the time. the front desk staff (except for a very few individuals), was an abomination to the phrase "customer service". my concerns and requests were consistently ignored, dismissed, or flat out refused. I commented to one front desk agent during a phone call that i had had enough of the attitude, and her response was that she wasn't "going to take attitude from me either". incredible. I was charged for things that i had never requested and never approved. I disputed these charges on disembarkation day. I was threatened with having security called on me. I was aghast. I have disputed the charges on my credit card. I could not believe how horribly i was treated. I even spoke with the agent, (named robyn), with whom i had had the original conversation about the charges. She threw me under the bus. She kept repeating that i "had signed it". She insisted that i said things that i did not say. She insisted that i knew things that i did not know. I could not believe that i was being treated with such reckless cruelty and disregard. I wrote at least 4 letters to the general hotel services manager during the voyage. no compensation was offered. no reply was made to me. i informed the general hotel services manager that i would be writing a full report, and that it was the responsibility of princess' staff to convince me not to. no action was taken. The food: Princess has the worst food i have ever had on any cruise line. holland is far better, ncl is far better, celebrity embarrasses princess by comparison. princess' food is absolutely piss poor in every sense. i heard this from many many many guests. Every papaya i asked for was rock hard. raspberries were never available. strawberries were clearly frozen and defrosted before being served - hence most of the time, they were inedible. I had to fight every time i asked for blueberries. cateloupe, honeydew, and watermelon were all consistently rotted/past ripeness, mushy, inedible. The "variety" of dishes offered was pathetically limited. again, ncl, celebrity, and holland all embarass princess on food quality and variety. Most food was obviously frozen and defrosted. all of the seafood was frozen and defrosted before serving, which made it all rubbery, dry, cardboardy, and flavourless. the selection was ridiculously inadequate. in a phrase, the food was absurdly bad. At sabatini's i had to send two dishes back because they were flavourless and insanely oversalted. I could teach the chef how to cook, and i am self-taught. most of the food on the ship was insanely oversalted, or insanely too sweet. I cook better when i am sick enough to be bedridden. Popcorn was not available except at only one hour during the day, and not accessible at any other time, no matter how many requests i made. The soft ice cream was grainy, watery, in a word, disgustingly poor in quality. the only flavours offered were vanilla and chocolate in soft ice cream. no frozen yoghurt was available. for an additional fee, there was hard ice cream available in vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry. ridiculous. unacceptable. Drinks were inconsistent all over the ship. General: On embarkation day, the steward for my section barged into my room without knocking. i spent the day on lines 30 - 60 minutes waiting on each line, correcting screw-ups of the crew. Cabin: My bathroom was not working on embarkation day, and i was forced to walk out and use ship public bathrooms. my steward, after having barged into my room without knocking, offered only excuses about how he could not get my bathroom fixed because he was not the plumber. Cabin furnishings were outdated and dingy. I had been sent a message from princess before sailing, stating that i had been upgraded to a better cabin. I can't imagine what the worse cabin looked like. In my "new" cabin, the carpet was worn & stained. It was obviously very old. considering claims that the ship had been refurbished recently, it is obvious that absolutely nothing had been done with the cabin i occupied. The bathroom was filthy & had hair in it from the previous occupant. The balcony & deck furniture were filthy. There were stains on the bedside tables. There were pieces of small trash on the floor. the carpet did not appear to have been vacuumed. The shower had cracks & rust. my bed at home is way more comfortable than the bed in the princess cabin. Any time that i opened the balcony door, a panel in the ceiling howled. It was impossible to enjoy having fresh air in the room. I had to request extra blankets & the ones provided looked like they had been taken from a homeless shelter. One of the blankets had a hole in it. My bathroom did not work for a second time during the cruise. During the cruise the one single insufficient outlet in my cabin stopped working, which meant that i could not charge devices upon which i am dependent to run my life. i had to make numerous phone calls to the front desk to get this addressed. two (2) days after my phone calls to the front desk, i heard someone banging on my cabin door in the middle of day, claiming to be maintenance, and enquiring about my non-working outlet. Two days????!!!!!?? two days???!!!!!?? I told the maintenance person that i could not have him enter the cabin at that time, i needed privacy. i left my cabin shortly after that, and the steward for my section removed the privacy tag that i had placed into my door lock, and entered my room against my express wishes for privacy. things were removed from my cabin that i needed, and other things in my cabin were re-arranged against my wishes. i reported this to the general hotel services manager. No compensation was offered. Internet Access: It was obsecenely overpriced - - morally reprehensible pricing for an essential basic need for everyone. everyone must have regular simple easy internet now no matter where one may be. it is that simple. the price gauging for this is as morally reprehensible as price gauging for water and food. The internet barely worked. when it did, it would take copious amounts of time to get anything done, thereby eating up precious obscenely price-gauged minutes. Internet access is a basic need for everyone now, as are water and food, and should be available at no added cost for the entire ship. period. Entertainment/Gym/Fitness: There were not enough zumba classes. There should have been 2 (two) zumba classes per day (morning and afternoon/evening) - on every day - sea and port. There should have been more classes offered every day - not with extra charges - they should have been included. The gym should have been bigger. Club fusion was freezing cold all of the time. It was impossible to be there without wearing a coat. I wrote to the the cruise director, requesting more zumba classes. he disregarded my request about classes and did so in a quite indifferent unfriendly manner. One of the people who hosted karaoke was snotty and sarcastic with me. I don't remember his name. He hosted the voice as well. The karaoke library of music was extremely limited. None of the songs i looked for were in the library. It is one of the worst collections i have ever seen. The karaoke library had zero tina turner songs (and only one obscure ike and tina track, so what), it had no eurythmics, no pat benetar. The gym should have been bigger. Norwegian's, holland's, and celebrity's gym and spa areas are all much larger and put princess' dingy broken down jacked up "gym" and "spa" to shame. Because there were not enough classes, i needed the area where the mirrors were located to do my own series every day. but there were constant scheduling problems for me to do that, because that space was occupied throughout the day by princess' staff hosting money-bilking snake-oil-selling seminars. staff could have arranged to utilize other space for these "seminars" rather than constantly monopolizing space needed by those of us who really needed that space to maintain our fitness regimens. Spa: There were only 5 stone thermal beds for all of the guests who had spa access. i often could not get a bed, or had to wait for one. the spa, locker area, and salon were dingy and outdated. The aromatherapy steam room could only hold one person comfortably. Two people in that room would mean one would have to sit on the lap of the other. The sauna constantly stank of rotten eggs. I was in the sauna every day. It stank of rotten eggs every day. it was disgusting, but because i really needed the heat, i had to tolerate it by putting a towel over my mouth and having to breathe through the towel. the other steam/spa rooms were old, dingy, outdated, unappealing, and basically useless. The locker area was old, dingy, depressing. Folded towels on the shelves were frequently wet - - not fully dry. the spa robes were old, threadbare, and dingy. I was appalled at just how old, dingy, depressing, and totally unappealing or comfortable the entire spa was. Norwegian's, holland's, and celebrity's spas put princess to shame. It is embarrassing how gross princess' spa is. This is what princess calls a multi-million dollar refurbishment ?????!! Photographers: I tried to take some nice photos on nyeve, but the photographer could not have been less interested in helping me to get a good shot - - that i would actually be willing to buy. I did not buy any photos because they all sucked because the photographer did not care at all to help me get good shots, even though i asked and tried to get a few interesting looks. The photographer just rushed me to pose in the same stupid way that everyone poses. He would not help me to take photos that were uniquely expressing me, and would have been worth my money to buy. if princess wants to sell photos, photographers need to actually care about what people want, and take time to take photos that are genuinely desired. Casino: Scratch off games were entitled to a second chance via raffle on the ship. I bought several scratch off games, but the first time i bought them, the cashier did not bother to tell me that they had a second chance if i did not win anything in the scratch-off. i threw away tickets that i could have entered in the raffle. The second time i bought scratch off games, the cashier told me about the raffle. i returned to the first cashier to call him out on not telling me that i had a second chance to win something with non-paying scratch-offs, and he just gave me some dumb indifferent look. He did not care at all. i lost a second chance at the raffle for those scratch-offs because of his total indifference and lack of attention to customer care. I cannot believe that the majority of your employees on the ship are just like this. it is truly unfathomable. If that cashier had been in my shoes, he would have been extremely disappointed and upset. "Art" Gallery: "fine arts" ???? it was all trash. not a shred of "art" to be found. Medical: As with the internet, medical care is price-gauged, and minimal in scope. morally reprehensible. Disembarkation Day: As i stated above, i was charged for things that i had never requested and never approved. I was on the phone fighting about it starting at 5:30 am on disembarkation day. the ship was so extremely turbulent with only one engine, that i did not sleep at all during the previous night. I had to go down to the front desk to dispute these charges on disembarkation day. I was threatened with having security called on me. I was aghast. I had to make dispute and fraud reporting phone calls throughout the day to my credit card and other financial institutions. As i stated above, i even spoke with the agent, (named robyn), with whom i had had the original conversation about the charges. She threw me under the bus. She kept repeating that i "had signed it". She insisted that i said things that i did not say. She insisted that i knew things that i did not know. Even during my dispute with them over the charges, robyn took the things i was saying during that conversation and twisted them on me as i was speaking. my statements were completely disregarded. I could not believe that it was happening. Customs: There was a very long line to wait to pass through customs. Negative surprises: Everything from day 1 until walking off of the ship was a negative surprise. This is my report on princess' failure to deliver value for the fortune of money they charged me, on every level. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
I chose Princess because I never sailed with them before. I went on my birthday and thought it would be something special and to my surprise it was very dissapointing. I suggest that more interactive activities be provided for the ... Read More
I chose Princess because I never sailed with them before. I went on my birthday and thought it would be something special and to my surprise it was very dissapointing. I suggest that more interactive activities be provided for the passengers that stay on board while in a port. The dining menu was good and the steff was great, they were very proficent and professional and was very attentive to your needs.The cabin staff was very good and provided whatever you needed. There is a lot of needed improvement in there entertainment. It would be nice if they provided more venues instead of the same two or three they schedule they just move from one place to another. I feel that Princess provides their activities for the oldest passengers when some of us are still young at heart and would like more then just flying paper airplanes, knitting and art auctions. I don't think I will be sailing with Princess again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
ROYAL PRINCESS - Nov 30 –> Dec 10, 2017 Wednesday, Nov 29 - Travel day Well, here I am in beautiful downtown LAX at gate 25. It is 4:30am and boarding begins in twenty minutes. I was woken up at about 2:15am by a ringing ... Read More
ROYAL PRINCESS - Nov 30 –> Dec 10, 2017 Wednesday, Nov 29 - Travel day Well, here I am in beautiful downtown LAX at gate 25. It is 4:30am and boarding begins in twenty minutes. I was woken up at about 2:15am by a ringing sound. After a few seconds I identified the source of the noise. It was my alarm clock. I was showered and dressed and ready when the limo driver arrived around 3:00am. It sounds expensive, but it is the same price as a taxi, much more comfortable, and very much more professional. Given the early hour, there was not much traffic. I assume the driver used to be a taxi driver, based on the way (and speed) he was driving. So I’m at the airport by 3:30am. Unfortunately, nothing happens inside the terminal until 4:00am. Nonetheless, I am checked in and waiting at the gate by 4:20am. So with nothing better to do, I begin my review. People seem to like details, and I have a short memory (my memory has been timed with a stopwatch), so I write my review while on the ship. People also seem to like photographs, so I’ve brought three cameras; a DSLR, a point and shoot camera (for shore excursions), and a waterproof camera for, you will not believe this, underwater shots (bet you didn’t see that coming). In the past I posted all the pictures with the review. After a while that became time consuming, tedious, and boring. So I set up albums and posted some of the pictures with the review and most of the pictures in the albums. Then Photobucket dot com restricted third party linking to its most expensive plan (the $400 per year plan). I don’t mind paying a little for the third-party-hosting, but I’m not moving from a $40 dollar plan to a $400 dollar plan just so I can post my photographs online. So I did some checking around and found that SmugMug offers unlimited storage and unlimited linking for $48 per year. Since I have unlimited storage, and can upload bigger photos and longer videos. This is especially good now that Cruise Critic limits the size of the photos that can be posted. So, I’ll post some of the photos with the link and provide links to albums that will contain all of the photos. Please let me know how you like this new system. Well, boarding should begin soon, so it is time to shut down the laptop. I will probably continue this on the plane. Well, it is about 9:18am, seven miles below us. I’ve had breakfast and now it is time to continue working on this. My boarding pass said gate 25. When I looked at the sign, it said next flight was to Atlanta. What I missed is that the flight leaves at 6:45am, and I am on a 5:30am flight. I was wondering why nobody was lining up to board. Turns out my flight is leaving from gate 24 (my boarding pass said gate 25). It is only 5:00am and boarding started at 4:50am, yet all sections have been called, so I am one of the last to board the plane. And there is someone in my seat. Why? Because they (it is a couple) think someone is sitting in their seat. They are booked in two different rows, no one is in their seats, and they just wanted to sit together. Well, then they should have booked two seats that are next to each other. So, a little about me. This is my 32nd cruise. I reached the second highest level on Royal Caribbean (D+), Carnival (Platinum), and Princess (also Platinum). I am not sure of my level on NCL, but I have been on three NCL cruises and this is my fourth Princess cruise. I have one more Princess cruise booked and two more NCL cruises booked. Most of my cruises have been on Royal Caribbean. However, lately I have become uncomfortable with the direction Royal Caribbean is taking, so I have been trying other lines. I like Carnival, but I also like longer cruises (this one is ten nights) and Carnival does not have many cruises longer than eight nights. I still want to try Celebrity, HAL, and Costa. I also want to see other private islands. So far all the private islands I have been on belong to Royal Caribbean. This cruise’s first stop is Princess Cays, then St. Thomas, Martinique (originally it was Dominica, but the hurricanes took care of that), Grenada, Bonaire, and Curacao. I’ve been to Dominica, so now three of these islands are new to me (Princess Cays, Martinique, and Grenada). Well, we are more than halfway there with about 90 minutes until we arrive in Atlanta. Since I only got about three hours of sleep last night, I think I will sign off now and try to get some rest. I’m in the Atlanta Airport now. It has been a long time since I was in an airplane restroom. It is even smaller than a ship board bathroom. I mentioned to the stewardess that it would hard to get lost in there. She got a big laugh out of that. I made it to Fort Lauderdale. I put my camera in an overhead bin and the person sitting next to me was trying to get some sleep, so I missed a few good photo opportunities. I “won” the Marriott Fort Lauderdale North via Hotwire. The last time I used Hotwire I got a good hotel near the port. Marriott is supposed to be a good hotel, but my first impressions were not good. Also, it is NOT near the port. I’ve got two checked luggage (flying first class, so both are free) and two carry-ons (one for the computer and one for the cameras). I checked in and went upstairs. The room cards did not work. So back downstairs I went. I was given two new cards. The new cards worked. However, the room was occupied. I called from the ninth floor phone, but they kept me on hold too long and I knew I would have to go downstairs again anyway, so I hung up the phone and went back downstairs again. They gave me a different room and room cards and back upstairs I went. The cards did not work. I called. They sent someone to meet me. He tried the card one time, and it did not work. He tried the card a second time, and it worked. I asked him for the secret. He said it is not you, it is me. Apparently after one failed attempt he changed cards to his get in any room card. Then he went and got me some new cards and reprogrammed the door. All of that got me a free bottle of water and twenty dollars off of something. I wonder what I will get when I tell them about the alligator in the bathtub? Since the room is prepaid, I’m kind of stuck having dinner in the hotel’s restaurant or forfeiting my OLC (on land credit). So, off I go. I will let you know if it is worth it. There are a couple of other issues. One, the entry light takes three seconds to come on. So one gets to stand in the dark until the light comes on. Two, there is no in room safe. I will catch up with you after dinner. Well, the restaurant was not as expensive as I expected it to be. The food was good, about on par with Black Angus. However, the menu was two photocopied sheets of paper stapled together. Really? That reminds me of an out in the middle of nowhere pizza place. I would have expected better of a very nice looking restaurant inside a Marriott Hotel. Thursday, November 30 - Embarkation day The hotel slips the bill under the door, just like the cruise ships do. The room is prepaid, so my bill is for the restaurant. The bill is accurate, however, there are a few additional taxes that I have not seen before. There is a beverage tax, a Caribbean tax and a “takeabreak” tax. All are zero, so as I said, the bill is correct, as the total is the same as the amount that I signed for last night. At 8:20am I get a knock on my door. It is the cleaning lady, who is embarrassed to find me still in the room. Don’t they know I have not checked out yet? Overall, I am not impressed with this hotel. This is the first not so good experience I have had with Hotwire. Had embarkation day been a weekend day, I would have picked one of the two hotels overlooking the pier for the photo opportunities. Well, it is time to go board the ship. Be back at you later. The hotel ordered a “car” for me. It wasn’t until later that I realize that meant a limo. Sounds expensive, right? It was $49 plus tip (the taxi was $53.50 plus tip). Since there was no traffic at 10:30am, the trip was a lot quicker also. I was at the port around 10:50am. Much to my surprise, the lines were already long. The priority line was as long as the other line. Nonetheless the line moved fairly quickly and soon I was checked in. We are supposed to board by group. I was in boarding group “H-Preferred” and I sat in the area I was told. However, I got up to ask the man guarding the stairs (sorry, I forgot the question I ask) and I was told there was a lounge upstairs for priority people. I told him I was platinum and he said I could go up, so I did. I basically ended up in the same type of chair I was in before, just higher up. I didn’t notice much difference. Soon we were boarding. The Elites went first, then us. I went to my cabin and dropped off my carry-on luggage and then headed out to take pictures. I don’t recall the time, but I was on board before noon. I was surprised the safety drill was not playing in the cabin. I would learn why after sail-away. The room comes with one 1.5 liter bottle of water and two half liter bottles of water. The half-liter bottles are $2.00 each. The 1.5 liter bottle is $3.95, so the 1.5 liter bottle is a better deal. As I got close to the Horizon Court I decided to take advantage of the open seating (open meaning there were still tables available). All you do is fill your plate and then find a place to eat. The silverware and napkins are on the tables and there are waiters and waitresses there to take your drink orders. After lunch I went back to the cabin to get my hat for sun protection. I met Dendi, my room steward. I told him I have late seating and I like plenty of ice. My luggage had not arrived yet. I then went back out and took more pictures. Pretty much took all the photos of the upper decks and my cabin that I wanted to get. I took 211 photos and videos today. When I returned to my cabin, I found my luggage inside the cabin. Being tired, I laid down on the bed and turned on the TV. The TV turned on, but I could not change the channels. As I left for the muster drill (at 3:15pm) I saw Dendi and asked him if the remote worked. He said yes, so I told him the remote doesn’t change channels. He said he would check it. However, I was not able to catch up with him until after sail-away. He takes one look at the TV and says it is not connected. He will have to contact technical. So I explained that I like to follow the progress of the ship and I need the TV to view my account. He showed me how to do that on my computer turns out you cannot check your account on the TV. At any rate, soon there is a knock on the door. It is the guy who is going to fix the TV. That was impressively quick. He looked a little confused, so I handed him the remote. The TV comes on and it is working. I was just about to ask him how he did that when I noticed the TV said it was set up for first time use. So I said, “Oh, you did something before you came here.” He smiled and asked how I knew that. I told him it was because the TV said it was set up for first time use. At any rate, the TV works, so life is good. You need to put your room card in a little slot just inside the door, or no electricity. Any card will do, even the blue piece of paper with the boarding group on it (folded in half) works. Well, it is 7:00pm, dinner is at 8:00pm and I haven’t unpacked yet. So I will catch up with you later. I’m at a table for eight. Six of us where there tonight. Two couples from England and Canada and two single men from the United States (one from the east coast and one from the west coast). All seem to be experienced cruisers. Seems like a good group. I had pasta for an appetizer and prime rib for the main course. I wanted something cold for dessert, so I had chocolate ice cream with chocolate syrup. One of the things I learned at dinner is that there is a special event for Platinum, Elite, and suite passengers every night from 5:00pm to 7:00pm in Club 6. Turns out that I did receive the invitation, I just had not read it yet. When I returned to the cabin, I found that I had received a gift, a Princess tote, which will come in handy tomorrow. After finishing with this I watched the second half of the Cowboys / Redskins game. However, I fell asleep before the end of the game. I think the Cowboys won. At least they were winning when I fell asleep. Friday, December 1 - Princess Cays I woke up around 5:30am and decided to get dressed and take pictures of the inside of the ship. I was able to take pictures of most of what I wanted on decks five and six. So I will leave deck seven for another day. We are stopping at Princess’ private island today. I’ve rented a locker for the day so that I don’t have to keep going back and forth to the ship when I change cameras. I’ve got a fifteen minute banana boat ride at 12:25pm and a one hour tour of the island at 1:30pm. After the tour I will probably come back to the ship. It is about 8:25am now and we are approaching Princess Cays, so I will catch up with you when I get back. Well, things went fairly well for me on the island, but it was not perfect. I was the only one to sign up for the 12:25pm banana boat ride, and they were not willing to offer the boat ride for one person. I could wait for the 1:00pm group, but I had another tour scheduled for 1:30pm. So I was given my ticket back and was told to get my refund back on the ship. A second issue was I got a little too much sun (I did wear my hat). My main goal was to get plenty of photographs of the island. However, while I don’t know if Princess owns the entire island, the resort area while quite large makes up only a small part of the island. Still, I did get plenty of photographs with my good camera. Then I got my underwater camera and got some good photographs of the fish in the snorkel area. After all my picture taking it was time for lunch. It is basic buffet fare, hot dogs, hamburgers, and chicken. At least they had ice for the water. I then took an extra half of a hamburger bun and feed the fish that I had just photographed from the observation platform just above the area where the fish hang out. After lunch and the missed banana boat ride, I took the coastal cruise. Basically we go down to the southern end of the island and back in one hour. It was not as interesting as I had hoped, but the tour guide was fantastic! She spoke in a nice clear voice, was knowledgeable, and funny. On the tender back to the ship there was a film crew filming a couple. I’m not sure why, but these were no amateurs. There was a makeup artist, and the camera they had was very professional looking and easily worth $10,000 or more. I asked the camera man a little about his equipment and he said his sensor was bigger than a full sized 35 mm sensor. Looking at the numbers on the lens I realized he was shooting with a very wide angle lens. He was only about one to two feet away from the couple as he photographed them. He even let me view part of the scene that he shot. Now I had noticed some people on the island with expensive cameras set up, but those were just nice looking DSLRs on a tripod. Back on the ship I showered and then went down to the shore excursion desk to get a refund, which went smoothly. But there was another camera man with a steady-cam shooting a documentary for an English company. I ended up talking to the person who they were focusing on. I signed the waiver form, so who knows, I might end up on English TV. I hope the English can understand me despite my American accent. All eight of us were at the table tonight. The other couple is from the United States, but I didn’t catch which state (Middle America - perhaps Kansas). This is an interesting group and we had a very interesting conversation. I had chicken as an appetizer and pasta as the main dish. I went with same ice cream combo again. The head waiter stopped by and I asked him a question that had come up the night before. How do you assign table mates? The main three things that they look at are whether you are part of a group or if your reservation is linked with someone else, language spoken, and age. For your information, there is a very noticeable vibration in the Allegro Dining Room. The Allegro Dining Room is all the way aft on the sixth deck. We have all noticed this vibration both nights. How noticeable is it? If it was a bed, you would expect to pay ten cents ever ten minutes, or as a special, 25 cents every fifteen minutes. I put most of the things you can get charged for in the mini fridge. I was wondering if the cabin steward would notice that while out of sight, I had not opened the water (until today). I also have a wet hand towel in the fridge so I have something to cool me down with when I come into the cabin. He did, as today I received a receipt to sign for the 1.5 liter water bottle that I opened. Fair enough, at least he is checking. Well as I mentioned, I got a little too much sun today, so I am kind of tired. Also, we move our clocks ahead one hour, so it is now 12:30am. At least tomorrow is a day at sea, also known as a day of rest, so I will see you later today. Good morning. Saturday, December 2 - Day at sea Good morning fellow cruisers. With the time change and the late hour I went to sleep, I didn’t wake up until about 7:30am and didn’t get out of bed until about 8:00am. Oh the advantages of a day at sea. It must have rained last night. The bridge cam is wet, my balcony is wet, and outside all I can see is water. So today I will check out the stores, attend a meet and greet at 11:00am in Club 6, take some sea day photos, dress for formal night, see the production show, and have my picture taken with the captain. Also I had a couple of pictures taken of me on Princess Cays, so I will spend some time look for them (I wish they would put names on the pictures, it would make finding each person’s pictures so much easier). I found my room steward and asked him how to get my account on the TV. You can’t. Well, that explains why I could not figure it out. So I checked on my account on my laptop computer. Fortunately since I am platinum I get 250 free minutes for this cruise (checking one’s onboard account does not count against the Internet time). It took a while to figure out what Princess is doing. The $13.50 daily charge was easy to figure out. But it looked like I was getting charged again for all the prepaid shore excursions. However, then I saw the large credit, which covered the shore excursions (I assume - I will check the math later). Did the credit for the missed banana boat ride show up? No, but then I realized, neither did the charge. The Princess Patter (the ship’s newspaper) has an enrichment article. The history of EFFY Jewelry. So, I guess the infomercial has figured out how to invade the printed media. Well, I’m off to see how much trouble I can get into. So if I don’t end up in the brig, I will let you know how things went. Actually I just need to clear the cabin so that Dendi can do his thing. I had a light breakfast, checked out the stores (didn’t buy anything), attended the meet and greet (we had a good turn out, but none of the crew showed up), took some sea day photos, found only one of my Princess Cays photographs (I bought it) and went back to the cabin to relax and have a light lunch out on the balcony. Yesterday one of the light bulbs burned out. That was quickly repaired today. So, shortly after 5:00pm I got dressed in a suit and tie and went to Club 6 which becomes the Platinum/Elite/Suite Lounge from 5:00pm to 7:00pm. It is a nice meeting place, but not really my style. At 6:00pm I went to the Princess Theater to watch the production show, Colors of the World. At 7:00pm I was expecting to get a picture with the Captain. However, the Captain just introduced the senior staff, then posed for pictures by request. So I ended up with a picture of the Captain, not with the Captain. Tonight was formal night. I had pasta for an appetizer and beef for the main course (and of course my chocolate ice cream with chocolate syrup for dessert). I ate my beef fairly quickly, so the waiter brought me a second helping. It was good. Today was one of the couple’s fiftieth anniversary. So the staff sang Happy Anniversary to the tune of Happy Birthday. After dinner, having had a fairly full day, I went to sleep. So, until tomorrow, good night. Sunday, December 3 - St. Thomas I woke up around 5:00am and went to the seventh deck around 5:30am to finish photographing the public areas of the ship. I finished around 6:15am and thought about trying to catch the sunrise. However, there were two problems with this. First, the ship was heading right at the sun. That is not normally an issue, except this ship has no forward observation deck. In fact, it is ironic that this ship has no ocean view cabins (it has inside cabins, balcony cabins, and suites, but no ocean view staterooms), because unless you are on you balcony, or deck sixteen or seventeen, you are not going to see the ocean. There is no view of the ocean on the public decks (decks five, six, and seven) except for the public spaces aft of the aft elevator shafts (which are mostly restaurants). Because the Promenade deck (deck seven) is where the lifeboats are stationed, and because the lifeboats are safety equipment, much of the Promenade deck is off limits to the passengers. The second problem is that there are clouds over the horizon and none overhead, which is the exact opposite of what is needed for a good sunrise photo. So I took a couple of photographs, but they are nothing to write home about. After breakfast I headed back to the cabin to work on this and rest up a bit. Then I went to visit downtown St. Thomas. Prior to the hurricanes my plan was to visit Sapphire Beach. However, now my plan is to visit the town and go up to Paradise Point (if it is operating). So I will catch up with you later. Well, Saint Thomas is about eighty percent back to normal. However, that does not include Paradise Point. I went downtown and bought some things for some friends, then headed back to the ship and went swimming. After swimming I had lunch, then showered, and watched some football and worked on this. I should mention that I have been showering with the temperature set as low as possible, not because I like cold showers (I don’t) but because the cold is warm enough for a shower in the tropics. It is warmer than room temperature (and a lot warmer than my room temperature). While I was shopping there was a big downpour, so I am glad I was not at Sapphire Beach or I might have gotten wet - yikes! I’m sure I will return to Saint Thomas sometime in the future since all the one week Eastern Caribbean cruises stop at Saint Thomas and/or Sint Maarten. We received our debarkation forms today. This will be the first time I am doing self-assist. Because I didn’t want to take any chances, I chose a 10:45am flight out of Fort Lauderdale. However, I am hoping to catch an earlier flight, so I am going to self-assist and hope for the best. So until it is time for dinner I am going to sort photographs. I will catch up with you after dinner. Next to our table is a table clearly set up for something special. Today it was being used as the Chef s table. From what I could tell, the people are served things that don’t look anything like food. As for myself, I had a pasta appetizer and the surf and turf main course. Now here is where having the same waiters every night works out well. Realizing that the steaks are small, our waiter asked me if I would like two steaks with my surf and turf dinner. Of course I said yes. I had my usual double chocolate ice cream. It is cold and yummy. I’ll order something different for dessert when I see something I really want. Otherwise, I did a lot or walking today, developed a blister, discovered I don’t have even the most basic of first aid kits (like some Band-Aids - duct tape to the rescue, at least I have duct tape), and I don’t get along with heat or humidity (and both are here in large quantities), so it is off to bed for me. The bed has one blanket, which is keeping me more than warm. We are currently one hour ahead of East Coast time, so I watched a little of Sunday Night Football before falling asleep. Monday, December 4 - Martinique Martinique is the replacement for Dominica, which more or less got destroyed by the hurricanes. I woke early today and decided to try for a sunrise photo. Once again there were clouds on the horizon, so the photos were not that good. The reason is, the higher the sun has to rise before being seen, the brighter it is which causes the colors to fade. Then I had breakfast and then came to the cabin to rest and cool down. This is the first time I’ve been here, so I wanted to explore a bit. Nothing that Princess offered seemed interesting. I considered a taxi tour (I’ve had good luck with those before) but just settled for looking at the tents and stalls the locals have for selling souvenirs. Everyone (which includes the other islands) is selling the same things. It kind of puts a real damper on shopping for something different when everything is the same (except for the name of the island). Finally I settled on a shot glass for my friend and headed back to the ship. An iguana was causing quite a scene. The tourists all wanted to get close to it to take a picture. The local ladies acted like the women in the cartoons when they see a mouse. The iguana was surrounded by people who were either trying to get closer or running from it, and being a wild iguana, it didn’t want to be near the people. It was quite the scene. All I wanted to do was get back to the ship so that I could cool off. The TV (flat screen, I would guess 40 to 43 inches) is mostly full of news shows (BBC, Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC plus ESPN, ESPN2, the bridge cam and the not to be missed Yule Log, in case you can’t do without a fireplace) and no regular stations (ABC, CBS, Fox, or NBC) so I decided to watch one of the many free movies that are offered. This one I watched was Jason Bourne. Then it was time to work on this and sort more photographs. Tuesday, December 5 - Grenada We arrive early in Grenada and then leave early. I don’t like this kind of timing because when we arrive at 7:00am none of the stores are open. So there is a lost hour there. All aboard is 1:30pm, meaning the six and one-half hour stop has turned into a five and one-half hour stop. As it is my first time in Grenada, I’ve decided to take a tour. Then it turns out the shop I want to visit is a ten minute walk. So, if we get back to the ship at 11:30 I will lose another twenty minutes round trip, leaving me with only one hour to shop for the things I want to get (which leaves me with a safe margin for getting back to the ship on time). As it turns out, I’m able to work things out, but more on that later. When we arrive, I am dressed and ready to go. I take some pictures with my good camera, have breakfast, and then because there is a sixty percent chance of rain, switched from my DSLR to my travel camera. Then I head down to the pier. I am a little early, so I decided to take a look around The Esplanade Mall. Back outside there is a rainbow over the ship. I take a few pictures that turn out well, but wished I had my better camera so that the pictures would turn out even better. There is 335A and 335B tour. I’m on tour 335A. We leave on time or maybe a little early. However, the driver ends up at the wrong entrance at the first stop, so 335B is the first one there. We join 335B for a tour of Fort George. I took the tour because it offered some good photo opportunities, and it did. Again I wish I had taken my DSLR rather than my travel camera. The next stop is Fort Frederick, which also offers some good photo opportunities, but not of the ship. I was still wishing I had taken my DSLR right up until it started raining. Then it was off to the beach (our last stop). Just as the beach goers get set on the beach and the non-beach goers (like me) get comfortable on the lounge chairs, the down pour begins. It ended up being a twenty minute downpour (which is fairly typical for the tropics). I stayed under the umbrella as it was doing a good job of keeping me dry. I noticed all the beach goers returned to the bar area where there was a roof keeping people dry. When the rain stopped, I explored a bit. This was a Radisson resort and it has a really interesting pool that has waterfalls on each end and is perfect for small children, given its large shallow area. When it was time to go back to the ship, I asked the driver if he would pass by Dot’s Plaza. He said yes. Would he drop me off there? Yes. Since I already purchased some spices at Fort Frederick, all I wanted were some more spices for family and friends, and a shot glass for a friend. By stopping at Dot’s Plaza, I saved about 25 minutes. Ten minutes of walking, five minutes of the bus ride to the ship, and ten minutes at Dot’s Plaza because it is such a small shop. So what is special about Dot’s Plaza? It is one of the “preferred” Princess shops, which basically means that there is a kickback agreement (that is why it is “preferred”). What I was interested in was how the spices were packaged, since the spices have to be packaged per US Customs’ specifications, or the spices will not be allowed into the US. I saw no fundamental difference between Dot’s packaging and what I got at Fort Frederick, so I should be good to go. The walk back involved walking through the tunnel of death, better known as the Sendall Tunnel. Built in 1894, it was not designed for pedestrians and cars. It is 350 feet long, nine feet high (limited to a vehicle height of seven feet) and close to nine feet wide. You have to trust that the drivers will not run over the pedestrians. Back on the ship I drop off my loot and then have lunch. Then I head back to the cabin to rest and watch Skull Island. Then I upload my photographs, backed everything up to a USB drive, showered, and dressed for dinner at the Crown Grill (I told my table mates last night that I would not be there tonight). I had a rib-eye steak for dinner. It was very good. Then I headed back to the cabin to work on this and then time for bed. So I’ll catch up with you tomorrow morning as we are heading to Bonaire (we arrive around noon, which is why we left Grenada early). Wednesday, December 6 - Bonaire For some unknown reason I woke up at 3:30am. Given the four-hour time difference, that means it was still yesterday back home. Eventually I just gave up and watched a movie, Rouge One. Then I caught a half decent sunrise. Then breakfast, and finally back to my cabin to rest, as I didn’t get as much sleep as I would have liked and we don’t arrive in Bonaire until noon. I had to leave the room so that the room steward could to do his thing, which he does very well. So I went to the library and looked at a couple of travel books. The last time I was in Bonaire (November 2014), they were just getting ready to accept cruise ships. Most of the stores had just been built and were not yet stocked. I’ve booked a resort mainly because there are no other tours that are interesting, the price was reasonable, and I’ve never done a resort before (I’m not really a resort person - wildlife and photo opportunities are more my thing). I then realized that I did not really pack for this. So I went to the ship’s store and bought some water shoes and small bag to carry the beach towel (which I got from deck sixteen) and whatnot in. So, when I get back from the resort I’ll tell you how it was. Well, I am back. As resorts go, it was not that impressive. The resort we went to on Granada was much more impressive. However, there were plenty of lounge chairs, some good snorkeling, and a couple of fresh water pools (also known as swimming pools). There was a children’s pool for non-swimmers, and a nice adult pool with plenty of room to just sit comfortably, if that is what you wanted to do. I rented a mask and snorkel (they hold your ship card until you return the mask and snorkel) for ten dollars for the day. Then I took some pictures of the fish. When I was done with that I had lunch consisting of a sandwich for me and some French fries that I shared with the fish (four dollars each for the sandwich and fries). It was scheduled for three hours, and with travel time, we spent about two and one half hours at the Spice Beach Club. The Princess tour included transportation, a drink, and free use of the lounge chairs. Doing it your own would cost ten dollars for the transportation (five dollars each way by water taxi), five dollars for the day for the lounge chair, and whatever the free drink is worth (let’s say five more dollars). The total is twenty dollars. Through Princess is forty dollars for an adult and $25 for a child. On the bus ride to the Spice Beach Club I spotted the store I wanted to go to. So upon our return I went to the cabin, showered, changed clothing, and when back out to the store to get some shirts and a shot glass. On the way back I bought a couple of necklaces for a couple of girls I will see Sunday as I stop off in Texas on my way back home. The Crown Princess was also here, and it arrived before we did (I would guess the Crown Princess arrived about eight or nine in the morning - we arrived around noon). The Crown Princess left around 6:00pm and the next thing I remember is waking up at 7:40pm, just in time for dinner. Tonight was Italian night. I had a chicken appetizer and pasta for the main course. We also had a sample of the chef’s special pasta, as an appetizer. It was good but I went with spaghetti with meatballs. Then I returned to the cabin, uploaded my pictures and worked on this. I’m tired, but I have a noon time tour tomorrow, so I catch up on my beauty sleep and will catch up with you tomorrow. Thursday, December 7 - Curacao Good morning from beautiful downtown Curacao. It is 6:25am, time for sunrise. However, while the sky is turning a light shade of blue, the sun will not make an appearance for a while. There are thick clouds on the horizon and no clouds overhead, which is the exact opposite from what is needed for a good sunrise. So, I brought my camera back inside. What, you may ask, was my camera doing outside? Well, as I said, I keep my cabin as cold as possible. If I try taking the camera out of my cool cabin into the warm humid air and then try to take a picture, it will look like it is really foggy. Why? Because the water condenses on the lens. So, I put it out about half hour before taking pictures and there is no problem. If I don’t have at least twenty minutes, then I use the hair dryer (which is in the desk drawer - the furthest point from the shower) set it on low, and spend about two minutes warming the lens and the camera up. All I need is for the camera to get warm. It is only eighty something outside. As long as the camera is about the same temperature as it is outside, the pictures look great (or at least as good as possible). Of course, going from Bonaire to Curacao, the crew could have rowed and we would have made it. So, the captain went at a reduced speed (typical up until last night was 20 to 21 knots, about 23 to 24 miles per hour - last night it was closer to twelve knots) and over shot the island, so that he had to make a “U” turn to get back to the island. We visited six islands. Princess Cays was a tender port (you could tell by sticking a fork in it) and the five we docked at I ended up with an ocean view. I would have preferred a dock side view. Well, it is 6:50am and I still don’t see the sun. The pilot boat just went by. I have no idea why. If the pilot wants to get home, all he has to do is step out on the pier, since we are docked. Well, it is 6:58am. The sun is finally peeking out above the clouds. We have been cleared to go ashore. You cannot hear the announcements inside the cabin unless you have the TV on the bridge cam channel. I guess I will watch another movie, have breakfast, check out the town, and then get back to the ship for my afternoon tour. So, I’ll catch up with you later. I love it when a plan comes together. I did watch another movie (The Fate of the Furious), then had breakfast, checked out the town, got some good pictures and videos, bought more stuff for my friends, and got back to the ship in time for my tour. Curacao has a natural bay similar to San Francisco, just not as big. Near the entrance is a swing bridge for pedestrians only and further inland is a bridge for motor vehicles only. The car bridge is high enough for even the biggest of the cruise ships. The pedestrian bridge floats on the water and swings out of the way when a ship needs to pass. When the swing bridge is in the open position, then a free ferry service will transport people back and forth. I got a few good pictures while on the Swing Bridge, and some more good pictures as we crossed the bridge on my tour. I was hot and tired and basically booked this tour because it stopped at an Aloe Vera factory. Of course there is talk about the process which is kind of boring. When we went inside I was able to buy a couple of products I wanted. Unfortunately the tour guide did not keep track of the time, and we were then running late. Fortunately it was all made up by shortening the second stop by keeping the talk brief. The second stop was at an artist’s house with a strange specialty. I have pictures, but let me see if I can explain this art form, from my own observations. The place is Serena’s Art Factory. The website is “chichi-curacao.com.” The subjects are women sitting. They are not exactly to scale. They all have extra-large breasts, no hands and no tows. Their head, arms and legs are painted black. The rest of the body is painted very colorfully. If a woman wore a bathing suit with a similar color pattern, they would be noticed by everyone. This artwork would clearly be a bright addition to someone’s home or office space. It is just not my style of art. The third stop was at the Curacao Liqueur. I am not normally a big drinker, but when I found out that they have chocolate Liqueur, I bought a bottle. It kind of made my day because it was an unexpected surprise. Back on the ship I decided to go swimming to cool off. Back at the cabin I showered, dressed for dinner and uploaded my photographs. At dinner I had a kabob as an appetizer and southern fried chicken for the main meal. It was okay, but Kentucky Fried Chicken has nothing to worry about (unless Pioneer Chicken becomes popular again). I had my usual chocolate ice cream and chocolate syrup for dessert. After dinner I watched a little of Thursday Night Football and then fell asleep. Friday, December 8 - Day at sea Well, today should be a relaxing day at sea. The only problem is, I’m waking up at 4:00am. I end up watching the Magnificent Seven. When the movie is over, I get dressed and go outside for some sunrise pictures. It doesn’t look good with clouds on the horizon and no clouds overhead, but we are not standing still. The clouds were still on the horizon, but the ship moved and more clouds appeared, leading to some nice sunrise photos. Then I had breakfast and then went back to the cabin for a couple more hours of sleep. Then I started working on this until the room steward showed up. I went outside to get some day at sea pictures, then came back in to bring this up-to-date, and having done so, decided to go for a swim. Tonight is the second formal night and the captain has asked me to the Princess Cruises Captain’s Circle Cocktail Party at 5:00pm in the Vista Lounge. So I’ll catch up with you later. Well, I typed the above paragraph before 4:30pm. Then I laid down for until it was time for the cocktail party. Unfortunately the next thing I know it was 5:10pm and I arrived at the party just as it was ending. There were seven at the table tonight, as one of the eight was upstairs at the Crown Grill. This has been a great group to eat with. The wait staff has also been great. Tonight I had pasta for an appetizer and Beef Wellington for the main course. Once again I had chocolate ice cream with chocolate syrup for desert. Tonight they actually had a dessert that normally I would be interested in, but I decided to just go with the regular. When I returned to the cabin, I sorted some more of my photographs and then I went to bed. Hopefully I’ll sleep past 4:00am. So, until tomorrow morning, goodnight. Saturday, December 9 - Day at Sea Finally, I don’t wake up until 5:30am. That is actually my normal time. I then go back to sleep. The next thing I know it is 7:00am, which is the time I get up on weekends (today is Saturday). Unfortunately I missed what looked like a good sunrise. Not perfect, but good. Sorry I missed it. Instead, I decided to watch a movie again (why not, they are all free). This was about a single man trying to raise a little girl who as it turns out, is gifted. Problems arise when the little girl’s grandmother finds out that the girl is gifted. The movie is called Gifted. After that I got dressed and went out to get the customs form (in the past the room steward always brought them to the cabin), see if there was anything worthwhile at the last day sales (there was), take a few pictures, and have breakfast. Then it was back to the cabin to work on this, and sort some more pictures. In the early afternoon I went out for lunch and to check out the swimming situation. Unfortunately it was to cool to swim and it was beginning to look like rain (eventually it did rain). So, since I didn’t want to chance getting rained upon, and have my bathing suit get wet from the rain with no time to dry it, I decided against swimming and went back to the cabin to sort pictures. While working on this I noticed two other cruise ships outside. One was the Celebrity Eclipse and the Carnival Vista. I took out my camera and got some good pictures of both ships. Soon it was time to start packing, as I have a 5:30pm dinner at the Crown Grill. I ordered the same thing as last time except instead of salad I had a melting fudge cake with ice cream desert (yum!). Then I came back to the cabin, uploaded some pictures and finished packing. Then down to the restaurant to say good-by to my table mates and give the wait staff an extra tip, as I did with Dendi. Then back to the cabin to put all the little things where they belong in my carry-ons, read the disembarkation instructions (it says we do not need the Customs’ form unless we have exceeded our allowance (I’m under $500 and the US allowance is $800). I have not exceeded my allowance, but just in case, I’m going to fill one out anyway. From the log of our cruise: Port Everglades to Princess Cays 281 NM Average speed 17.9 Knots Princess Cays to St. Thomas 737 NM Average speed 19.8 Knots St. Thomas to Martinique 311 NM Average speed 20.1 Knots Martinique to Grenada 156 NM Average speed 14.8 Knots Grenada to Bonaire 391 NM Average speed 19.1 Knots Bonaire to Curacao 128 NM Average speed 12.2 Knots Curacao to Port Everglades 1150 NM Average speed 19.1 Knots The total Nautical Miles traveled is 3154 (or 3627 Statute Miles or 5841 Kilometers). Well, that is it for tonight. I have to get up early tomorrow because I am due to leave the ship at 6:40am. Sunday, December 10 - Disembarkation I was a little worried about getting up in time, as I don’t have a travel alarm clock. Usually on a cruise I do get up early, though on this cruise it has been exceptionally early. Sure enough I wake up at 3:00am. No use in fighting it, so I watch a movie. When the movie ends, we are just about ready to enter the harbor. I watch us pull in, alternating between the bridge cam, the channel with the route, and my balcony. Soon after we clear the turning basin, another Princess ship arrives, followed by one of the extra-large Royal Caribbean ships (it is too dark for me to see the ship names). About this time it is time for me to grab a light breakfast, then back to the cabin to drag my stuff down to deck five. I depart about 6:40am and make it through customs without being asked any questions. Never needed my customs declaration form. Outside there is a large van that offer to take me (and several others) to the airport for $10. I arrive at the airport about 7:10am. I am too late for the 7:45am flight and the 9:45am flight is full, so I guess I am stuck with my original flight reservation of 10:45am. When booking the flight I was thinking of booking the 8:45am flight. However, after I booked, that flight was changed to 7:45am. I really didn’t like the 9:45am flight, as the layover was only 36 minutes in Atlanta. I was able to go to the Delta Sky Club for $29, so all in all, it worked out okay for me (so far - we are currently on our decent into Atlanta). In the Sky Club I worked on this, then at 9:55am made a bathroom break and then headed to my gate. First to board were the people in wheelchairs. There were a lot of people in wheel chairs. I have never seen that many wheelchair passengers on one flight before. Well, we will be landing soon, so I have to put my computer away. Maybe I’ll catch up with you in Atlanta. Well, I’m in the Atlanta airport now. Boarding will begin in about thirty minutes. But there is no plane at the gate yet. Yikes!! Okay, never mind. The plane just arrived. Since I’m up-to-date on this, I guess it is back to sorting photographs. Not sure when I’ll catch up with you again. Landed early in San Antonio. We were earlier than the new schedule, but on time for the old schedule. But I’m not complaining. I used a carry-on sized suitcase as my second piece of luggage and forgot to change the lock to a TSA approved lock. TSA cut off my lock. No big deal, I have more locks at home. At least they zip tied the zippers together. No big deal, I don’t need to get into that suitcase until I get home. Then I checked in at the Hertz counter inside the airport. The bus will take me to the car which is in an off-site lot. Only thing is, I have to go into the off-site office to get the navigation / GPS unit. The Hertz NeverLost GPS is different than another GPS unit I have used or seen. Now I am in an unfamiliar car, in an area I am not that familiar with (I have been to San Antonio before, but usually I am not the driver), and I’m stuck with a GPS unit that looks and acts completely different than another GPS. Yuck! I am just supposed to follow the blue line. Black lines are other street. The one good thing is that it give very good spoken directions, except it cannot pronounce the word “loop”. Instead is spells it out – Highway 41 L O O P. At any rate I manage to figure out how to program it, and off I went, to a place I’ve never been to before. When I get on the street that is my final destination, I am told I have arrived. The house I am looking for is on my right. Well to my right is a dirt lot and the house numbers are wrong. I am looking for 288XX and I’m at 298XX. But the numbers are going down, so I keep driving. It is about a mile (and the end of the road) until I find what I hope is my friend’s house. The only problem is, I don’t recognize any of the cars. I later find out Mom’s car is in the garage, Dad’s car isn’t home yet, and the little red car I’m parked behind, that is daughter’s new car (she is sixteen, but still only has her permit. A short history of the people I am visiting. In 2007 I talked my sister, brother-in-law and two nephews into going on a cruise with me (on the Freedom of the Seas). Somehow we ended up talking the next door neighbors into going too. So on the cruises I went on after that, I would pick up some presents for the neighbor’s kids too. But as my nephews got older, they became involved in more and more things and finding time to visit became harder and harder. So for Christmas 2016 I put together all the stuff I had picked up over several cruises and sent it to them. However, earlier this year they moved to a new house in the same city (so they are no longer my sister’s neighbors (though they are still friends). Well, Mom made the kids write thank you notes and the youngest invited me to come over. The problem was, I had cruises booked out to 2019 and because I got very sick after my cruise in April 2016, I only have two extra vacation days. I tried to find a good window to come and visit, but nothing worked until I looked into a quick hit and run visit on my way back home from this cruise. Since Sunday night is a school night, I knew it would have to be quick. So I spent about one hour visiting with my friends, then when over to the high school to listen to a concert that my nephew was in. Then I stayed overnight at my sisters’ house. I was so tied at this point, that I was only able to sort half a day’s worth of photos, and was too tired to copy the photos into the new folders. Monday, December 11 – Travel day I woke up at 5:30am and got out of bed at 7:00am. Had lunch with my sister at then off to the airport. This is where I ran into problem with Hertz’s NeverLost. It would say, in one half mile turn right at the exit. Then turn right here, which I did. On the surface streets this works find, given the distance between streets and the speed difference. I turned right when it said turn right now. But this was not the right exit and I was soon headed onto a different freeway. The only problem is, I’m on a bridge over the street that I should be on, and the GPS is telling me to turn right here. I must have gone in a circle about one and one half times with the GPS trying to get me back to the Hertz drop off site. At this point I had it with the GPS and decided to follow the signs to the airport, and then I would be on surface streets, where the GPS guided me to the drop off. After checking in, the bus took me to the airport where things ran smoothly and soon I was waiting for the plane to arrive. It was a nonstop to LAX. The luggage was supposed to arrive on carousel six, but about twenty minutes later I found it arrive on carousel five. Thanks Delta. Then I had to wait forty minutes for the bus to arrive, which took me to the FlyAway lot near where I live. It is $9.75 for the bus ride and twenty dollars, including tip, to get me to HOME! That is where I noticed that TSA in San Antonio had cut off my zip tie but didn’t replace it. When I looked inside I had two notices that the luggage had been opened by the TSA and one cut lock. Everything in the bag was as I left it, and I have some doubts that it was actually searched. Did I enjoy the cruise? Yes. Everything was very good or better except on thing. The demographic is mostly older people of retirement age. Now I know to expect that on a cruise in excess of one week that is during the school year. The problem is, there was no energy. When you are on a ship with a couple hundred of kids, there is a lot of energy. That just did not exist on this ship, which likely had less than thirty children between the ages of three and fifteen. I realize some people will see this as a good thing, and that is fine. But for me, I would like to see a little bit more energy. Still, I have another school time cruise scheduled for April to Alaska. I it round trip out of Los Angeles, lasting twelve nights. So, school time lasting more than one week to Alaska, I’ll be expecting more of the same. Still while I did not know anyone on the cruise prior to boarding (the roll call was not that lively, even though there were many where signed up for, and attended, the meet and greet), there will be people I have become friendly with via the float-away lounge (even though we have yet to meet). The float-away lounge is a forum that is for off topic (not cruise related) discussions. Some other closing thoughts. The lack of any forward observation deck was a real negative for me. I have booked forward facing balconies for both of my Panama Canal cruises, and I like to use the forward facing observation deck when coming into the port. As noted, my cabin was in the forward section of the ship. The ship has two (or four – depending on how you look at it) bridges that stick out from the structure of the ship called the Sea Walk. There is one (or two – again depends on how you look at it) on each side of the ship, about mid ship, on decks sixteen (Lido) and seventeen (Sun). There is a very important difference between the two that you should be aware of when you select your cabin. The port side bridges have solid floors. If you are on the bridge and look straight down, all you will is your feet. If you look over the railing you will see either the water or the dock (depending on where the ship is and which way it is facing). However, if you are on the starboard side, Lido deck, and you look straight down, you will see the water (or the dock). The same thing if you look over the outside railing. However, if you look over the inside railing you will see the water and you will see into the balconies that are below you (there are no balconies above you). So, if you like meeting people, having one of the balconies below the starboard side Sea Walk on decks fourteen and fifteen will be perfect for you. There are no balconies on deck thirteen (mainly because there is no deck thirteen – remember that when calling out floor numbers from the back of the elevator, it is good for a laugh or two). As you go lower (decks nine through twelve) the angle for looking in gets less and less, and the balcony is further away from the bridge, so it is harder to have a conversation with your new found friends. Again, if you are into meeting people as they walk by and look into your “private” balcony, then you want to select the following cabins: Marina deck: 411, 415, 417, 419, 423, and 425. Rivera deck: 415, 417, 421, 423, 427, and 429. On the other hand, if you want to make sure you will not get any rain (and very little sun) then choose one of these port side balcony cabins: Marina deck: 412, 414, 416, 418, 422, and 424. Rivera deck: 414, 416, 420, 422, 426, and 428. Note, I have the pictures to support the above statements. Also note, the balconies under the ends of the bridges are slightly larger than the standard balconies. Look at the deck plans and you will see which balconies stick out further than the others. You might be wondering why I mentioned my travels to and from the ship. That is because in the suggestions for the cruise review, Cruise Critic suggests covering this part of the cruise experience also. For those that are interested, the written review is on its nineteenth page and is over ten thousand words and I took about 1700 photos. I will provide links to over 600 of the photos (over one third of all the photographs I took). I’m not sure how many of those photos I will post yet, but there is no way I would take the time to post 600 plus photographs. Also, the linked to photographs will be larger than the posted photographs, thus providing more detail. Please feel free to comment (good, bad, or ugly). Here is a link to my review on the main boards which contains links to all my posted photographs (you might have to copy and paste it into the address bar) ... https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2575145 Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
This was my chance to revisit a number of Caribbean ports/islands and go on the Royal for the first time. The ship is beautiful. Maybe too latge for my taste. You had to wait in line for a lot of activities. Too few elevators for the # ... Read More
This was my chance to revisit a number of Caribbean ports/islands and go on the Royal for the first time. The ship is beautiful. Maybe too latge for my taste. You had to wait in line for a lot of activities. Too few elevators for the # passengers. The inside cabins are OK - did not expect any thing else. The balcony cabin is about the same with a small balcony - large enough for two people to sit. Entertainment was average - a couple of entertainers were great. Spent 25 total days on the ship so I had a good time getting to look around. Buffet on deck 16 took getting use to but food was great and a good variety. Staff was above what I expereinced on some other cruise lines and worked very hard to make your cruise enjoyable. Plentyof activates to enjoy. One area Princess Royal and other Princess ships seems to almost ignore are get togethers for the Solo and Single travelers. Royal needed to be pushed to have some events / get togethers for this group of travelers. I hope they realize this is a growing group of cruisers and are being ignored or not provided some of the same amount of events and other groups that you see in the event section almost daily. It does not take a lot of effort to have get togethers on sea days. (This comment was for the 2 - 10 day Royal Princess cruises along with the 5 day one that followed. I am a little disappointed with the Evening Dining Menu. I know that each cruise will most likely repeat the menu over each successive cruise. My main comment is there will be two-three great choices one night and a Oh Hum selection the next night. My first thought is - are they trying to reduce the number of times the more desirable selections can be requested. Just my opinion. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
The ship is very new and facilities are excellent. Cabins spotless clean and nicely decorated. Thanks to my cabin Steward Jiwa. He gives me warm welcome everyday. I am solo traveler and thanks him to make me feel like home. Food was ... Read More
The ship is very new and facilities are excellent. Cabins spotless clean and nicely decorated. Thanks to my cabin Steward Jiwa. He gives me warm welcome everyday. I am solo traveler and thanks him to make me feel like home. Food was great and lots of choices. Fantastic service in the restaurant. I have been assigned to traditional dinning. My servers Jeerapan and Virarak are very professional and friendly. I am not surprise as their lady supervisor (i forgot her name) was so attentive and also friendly. Good team work! Entertainment was very good. I especially like the live music in each venue. The pianist Billy Pando at Crooners are super talented. The party band are fun and the shows are very entertaining. However, I was disappointed how they ignored the group of solo travelers. They have the one time unhosted solo gathering on the first sea day and that was it. No other singles and solo activities organised. Solo traveler market is actually a very big market and it is growing even bigger. Lots of other cruise company are going into it big time. Some examples are Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and even Cunard. They have new ships have solo cabins or single discounts on normal cabins. They have a cruise staff assigned to host activites e.g. dinner gatherings, daily meeting time, to solo group. Unfortunately Princess is losing lots of ground on this business here. I took over 40 cruises in different company and currently a Elite member of Princess. I travel with family usually but occasionally by myself. Hope they can keep up with the other cruise lines in this side of the business. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
I have to say the ship was the worst that i have been on and i paid the most. i have been on at least 13 cruises over the past 10 years and would never recommend this ship. The improvements they made were pretty much undetected. The ... Read More
I have to say the ship was the worst that i have been on and i paid the most. i have been on at least 13 cruises over the past 10 years and would never recommend this ship. The improvements they made were pretty much undetected. The cabin, which was a balcony was extremely small. 2 of us in the room and very little space for anything. The shower was ridiculously small. I am only 5'2" and can't imagine if i was taller or larger. There was very little to no space to put shampoo/conditioner or anything else needed in that shower. I had to bend down to get off the floor which was not a comfortable thing to do. the bathroom itself had very little space to put anything. The food left much to be desired. I ate in specialty restaurants just to get away from the dining room which was so freakin slow and the food in the buffet or market as they call it left much to be desired. I have never had to eat in specialty dining on any previous cruises. the ship had lots of problems, lost power, had to stop in the ocean with no movement, and the air conditioning was almost non existent. Would never recommend. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
This was my firstl, bugtdifficult to figure out Panama Canal Cruise; 3rd cruise on Princess; 12th cruise overall. I had a wonderful time. I was widowed less than a year ago and chose this cruise because I didn't want to be home for ... Read More
This was my firstl, bugtdifficult to figure out Panama Canal Cruise; 3rd cruise on Princess; 12th cruise overall. I had a wonderful time. I was widowed less than a year ago and chose this cruise because I didn't want to be home for my late husband's birthday and I was part of a group of singles on this cruise. The ship is beautiful; however, I kept getting lost. Princess does not make it easy to get from Point A to Point B without looking at a map. There is no difference in the carpets on the cabin decks and very few signs state 'starboard' or 'aft'. Not all elevators go to all the decks so it is a constant going to one floor, walking to one end to find the elevator to take you to the correct deck. The food was very good to excellent in the Main Dining Room. I am a picky eater, but had no problems finding something on the menu to eat. The one time I didn't enjoy my entree (too spicy), I was able to order something else. The buffet had a large variety of foods to choose from. The pizza was okay. I enjoyed the coffee at the International Cafe. My cabin was an obstructed OceanView. I was lucky that my window was between two lifeboats, but there was a platform for the workers. However, I was able to see the water and the ports from my cabin. Not sure I would book an obstructed cabin again (I personally like to look out the window and am claustrophobic so need to see an outside). The only port I had been to previously was Princess Cay. Relaxing beach day. Panama Canal - if you have never been, take the excursion that goes through the locks to the Pacific Ocean. It is a long day, but worth it. Cartegna, Columbia - took a city tour. Lots of history. It was a hot day and lots of walking but fun and interesting. Costa Rica - I took an excursion to the Canal and a train ride. Saw sloths, monkeys and various birds. Grand Cayman - Went to the Turtle Center and Hell. Hell is worth the visit one time so that you can truly say that you've been to Hell and back. Don't need to go back there. The Turtle Center was fun and educational. Got to hold a baby turtle. I didn't go to the shows. Although smoking is allowed in some areas of the casino, the tables were smoke free. Casino staff were a lot of fun. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
I chose the cruise for the itinery, which was great, although very tiring! But the ship was not so good, in need of refit, standards dropped, become very casual in fact. I think I was the only solo traveller, therefore no way of meeting ... Read More
I chose the cruise for the itinery, which was great, although very tiring! But the ship was not so good, in need of refit, standards dropped, become very casual in fact. I think I was the only solo traveller, therefore no way of meeting like minded people. Princess only put a get together for 'independent' travellers on at 9am, to go in port together, but I attended, but no one else, as people tended to have arranged tours. I did find on last day groups of ladies on the cruise, & some x 2 ladies , but travelling together. On a previous princess cruise it was not a problem. Not many Brits on the ship either. Food quality not as good, in fact it was better in the buffet. Entertainment was poor quality, no special artists, like you get with other cruise lines. I won't be going with princess again, I was very disappointed. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Our dream of going to Hawaii for our 25th wedding anniversary. We were so disappointed with the company Princess. It was our 5 th croissière and the second with Princess. To start our bed was like a plywood board! Hard and not ... Read More
Our dream of going to Hawaii for our 25th wedding anniversary. We were so disappointed with the company Princess. It was our 5 th croissière and the second with Princess. To start our bed was like a plywood board! Hard and not comfortable. Even after notifying the customer service, the housekeeper has put extra covers ... And nothing more! Bad has my back all the holidays! (I've never had a problem before with my back and since I came back it all came back normal!) Secondly the buffet on the 14 floors, they could not find a place to sit, lots of older people with canes and walkers on our boat and they went around the two rooms without finding a place and finally margin in their room or coffee in the 5th and sometimes I found a place in the bar to eat a donut and a coffee. If I ended up finding a place I would fill so much couple as I am 42 years old and not give my place to an elderly person with difficulty in moving it. It's a lot of trouble because in town if a pregnant woman or an elderly person needs to sit it will give me pleasure to give her my place, this is part of my values. I find it awful to experience this. My trip costing me over $ 9000 can. And I think we should be forgetting to fight to find a place to eat is ridiculous! Or even lunch in his cabin! The dining rooms are open from 7 am to 9 am with services. They are ridiculous to put a alarm to be able to have a lunch on the boat. Following my complaint they did absolutely nothing! But they are not bother to take the total on our credit card. So disappointed with this trip ... thanks to Princess! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
I chose this to get away. My embarking in San Pedro was very easy. My habit on cruises is going to the "international café" for morning coffee. After several mornings I met some very lively people who turned out to be CC ... Read More
I chose this to get away. My embarking in San Pedro was very easy. My habit on cruises is going to the "international café" for morning coffee. After several mornings I met some very lively people who turned out to be CC members. Some were in the Pop Choir with me. They soon asked me how many cruises I have been on. I was told about CC as I hadn't heard about the group. They urged me to join which I doing. I am sailing aboard the Pacific Princess in January. I was aboard the Pacific Princess in 2016 LA to Sydney. I like the small ships as it easier to get around. The newer Regal and the Royal are far bigger than the earlier ones. The Island P. is somewhat confusing and it took me several days to make my way around the ship. The gym was very well equipped, but it was hidden away below decks with no ocean view unlike the others I've worked out in. The cabin was good with a big window. My attendant was one of best I have ever had. The food choices were more than I could enjoy and I was able have cuisine from many regions The tours that I took were very good especially to the Guatemala coffee plantation. Unfortunately other tours were canceled due to the heavy rains and flooding we ran into. I now have a certificate saying I transited the Panama Canal Ta Da! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
I chose this cruise due to no solo supplement for the 7 night Canada New England Sept cruise! I was also on the Crown in June for Norway. It is an older ship and needs work. I was very disappointed regarding both the Lotus spa pool ... Read More
I chose this cruise due to no solo supplement for the 7 night Canada New England Sept cruise! I was also on the Crown in June for Norway. It is an older ship and needs work. I was very disappointed regarding both the Lotus spa pool and the Thermal Suite. On both of my cruises, the spa pool was closed numerous times supposedly for mechanical issues. I seemed to get different answers depending on which staff member I spoke to. Very disappointing! As for the Thermal suite, there was often people there that hadn't paid for the service. On one occasion, a couple came in in street clothes (jeans & running shoes) and proceeded to lay down on the thermal beds. It took about 10 minutes to get staff to remove the couple and then another 10 minutes to clean thermal beds. On 2 separate days when I went to use steam room, it was not working. Lady at front desk didn't seem to care! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Friends were going on this cruise and we decided to join therm for the itinerary mostly. We travelled to Copenhagen via a layover in Iceland and that was wonderful! I have sailed mostly S class Celebrity ships the last few years and find ... Read More
Friends were going on this cruise and we decided to join therm for the itinerary mostly. We travelled to Copenhagen via a layover in Iceland and that was wonderful! I have sailed mostly S class Celebrity ships the last few years and find them more to my liking , especially for the transatlantic cruises I favour now. Regal has only 1 pool and no inside pool, so that made for a very crowded ship during our many sea days. I am glad I tried a Royal class ship but intend to return to Celebrity. I'm elite on both lines and prefer the perks on Celebrity. What was good about Regal? The coffee card (love it!!!!!), the piazza, the entertainment. What was not so good? You'd think they'd have put better beds on this relatively new ship, but no, they were the same awful Princess beds. They need to rejig the timing of the theatre shows in the evening. The early 1 is overattended and I suspect the 10pm 1 under attended. Celebrity usually has 2 or 3 guest lecturers on TA's, but Regal had only 1. The cabin was comfortable and I do love the hanging storage on Regal, but the bathroom seems very cramped compared to S class baths, the best I've ever experienced. Service was fine. I did not take any Princess excursions as I prefer to arrange my own. Spent a delightful day in Cobh Ireland, but nary a word from Princess about this delightful town, because they want everyone booking expensive bus tours out of town. Horizon Court was amazing and could always find a seat. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
It was advertised as a Singles Cruise through match.com. There were 3-5 women for every man. The women were fighting over the men. That was the main reason I took this trip. The staff tried to sell us items 24/7..Not a day went by that I ... Read More
It was advertised as a Singles Cruise through match.com. There were 3-5 women for every man. The women were fighting over the men. That was the main reason I took this trip. The staff tried to sell us items 24/7..Not a day went by that I was not bombarded with a sales person. The entertainment was lacking. The food in the dining room was inedible....hard frozen and tasteless fish. The preparation of food was handled without gloves. Men making pizza wiping hands on face and apron barehanded kneading the dough. Food handlers in the buffet were not wearing gloves when handling food. The elevators were also difficult in deciding when to open and close the doors.. (Timer??) The TV was not user friendly. The staff not helpful. I have been on over 20 cruises and have nothing nice to say about this one. I traveled on Ruby Princess 2 years ago and it was head and shoulders over the Emerald. It was my birthday and the service was so slow that we missed my cake in order to see the next show on board. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We were on the cruise with the murder. Other than not seeing the glaciers, and being kept on the ship most of the day in Juneau that wasn't a big deal. Having researched what meat glue meat is, it is my opinion that they and maybe ... Read More
We were on the cruise with the murder. Other than not seeing the glaciers, and being kept on the ship most of the day in Juneau that wasn't a big deal. Having researched what meat glue meat is, it is my opinion that they and maybe all ships use it. Most people wouldn't know the difference, but if you check it out, you would prefer not to eat it. The rest of the food was good and the service was good. There was numerous times that a crew member couldn't tell you where something was. I had forgotten that the ship is really a floating mall. They are trying to sell you stuff day & night. I have no idea the true value of the diamonds or the watches, but I checked out the art when I got home and IMO you are getting screwed if you buy any of the art. On this cruise, the time in the ports was pathetic. I think that because there are at least 8 ships each week, they have made deals with each other, so there is usually only 2 ships at a time in a port. Other than going to a "famous" salon, or their jewelry stores you won't see much. The entertainment was primarily ship dancers. They had a "fake" Voice thing with passengers as the participants. One comedian for 2 days. We happened to have went on a Vacations to go, cruise, and found out that we paid $250+ each for that privilege. I would never go with Vacations to go. I wouldn't recommend this cruise and IMO, for the money you really can only claim, "I've been to Alaska. Read Less
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